STILL AS A GRAVEYARD – MY ELECTION DAY EXPERIENCE (3)

We were still waiting when one of the amoured cars with armed men moved towards us, with blaring siren. My heart skipped. And in a blink of the eyes, the car stopped.

 

The screeching sound of the tyre, echoed through the air. Immediately, they hopped down from the car, parked at the walk way. With their guns, they waved down and searched every oncoming vehicle.

 

I saw their eyes, they burned like fire. After waiting for ages with the chances of getting a vehicle fading quicker than a cheap ankara, I had no option than to consider going back.

 

Though, going back would not be easy, I considered it the lesser evil. Movement was restricted, commercial “keke” riders have recoiled to their shells; some at home tossing on their succulent mattress while others were busy in their polling units, trying to vote.

 

There were a handful of drivers who were making brisk business ferrying passengers to Ibusa.

 

Some “keke” riders were not left out. They charged between #200 and #400 from Asaba to Ibusa

(It was about #100 before then)

 

“If I decide to go back now, that means I would trek the distance”, I ruminated in my mind. Koka Junction to Okpanam Road (where I stay), could take me at least an hour if I embark on the ‘Great Trek’.

 

I was still lost in the oceans of my thought when one of those standing with me, signaled an oncoming vehicle.

 

Before we could say Jack Robinson, the golf car halted, we swarmed the vehicle and luckily for me, the driver was heading for my home town.

 

As the car sped off the tarred Ibusa Road, the passengers, four of them, smiled like one who had just won American lottery. I was relieved that at last, I would vote.

 

But after ten minutes into the journey, we saw some policemen. They had mounted a roadblock, between Ogwashi-Uku and Ibusa. “Make all of una come down”, someone said, as our vehicle drew close…

Emmanuel Egobiambu

A creative writer, editor and public affairs analyst skilled in research.

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